Wandering into the Wilderness of Womanhood: An Ecofeminist Reading of the Relationship between Women and Nature in Margaret Atwood's Surfacing and Cheryl Strayed's Wild.

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This thesis explores the relationship between women and nature in contemporary North American literature. This relationship has been researched in the novel Surfacing (1972) by Canadian author Margaret Atwood and in the memoir Wild (2012) by American author Cheryl Strayed. This thesis researches these two literary works by Atwood and Strayed in the light of ecofeminism: a theory that links women to nature. Both women and nature suffer from the dominant influences of a male-oriented society. Both women have written about female experiences with nature either from a fiction or non-fiction point of view. Margaret Atwood’s novel Surfacing can be seen as a prototypical ecofeminist work whereas Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild is not necessarily an ecofeminist work at all. This thesis looks at the differences in depicting a woman’s relationship to nature between an ecofeminist work and a non-typical ecofeminist work. The relationship between women and nature is much deeper and more spiritual in an ecofeminist work than it is in a non-typical ecofeminist work. Wild depicts the relationship between the female lead character and nature as a bonding experience whereas Surfacing depicts the relationship between nature and the female protagonist as a necessity to survive in a patriarchic society. Keywords: Women, Nature, Transcendentalism, Ecofeminism, Ecocriticism, Margaret, Atwood, Surfacing, Cheryl, Strayed, Wild
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